(1) There shall be equality of opportunity for all citizens in matters relating to employment or appointment to any office under the State.

 

(2) No citizen shall, on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, descent, place of birth, residence or any of them, be ineligible for, or discriminated against in respect of, any employment or office under the State.

 

(3) Nothing in this article shall prevent Parliament from making any law prescribing, in regard to a class or classes of employment or appointment to an office under the Government of, or any local or other authority within, a State or Union territory, any requirement as to residence within that State or Union territory] prior to such employment or appointment.

 

(4) Nothing in this article shall prevent the State from making any provision for the reservation of appointments or posts in favour of any backward class of citizens which, in the opinion of the State, is not adequately represented in the services under the State.

 

(4A) Nothing in this article shall prevent the State from making any provision for reservation in matters of promotion, with consequential seniority, to any class] or classes of posts in the services under the State in favour of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes which, in the opinion of the State, are not adequately represented in the services under the State.

 

(4B) Nothing in this article shall prevent the State from considering any unfilled vacancies of a year which are reserved for being filled up in that year in accordance with any provision for reservation made under clause (4) or clause (4A) as a separate class of vacancies to be filled up in any succeeding year or years and such class of vacancies shall not be considered together with the vacancies of the year in which they are being filled up for determining the ceiling of fifty per cent. reservation on total number of vacancies of that year.

 

(5) Nothing in this article shall affect the operation of any law which provides that the incumbent of an office in connection with the affairs of any religious or denominational institution or any member of the governing body thereof shall be a person professing a particular religion or belonging to a particular denomination.

 

(6) Nothing in this article shall prevent the State from making any provision for the reservation of appointments or posts in favour of any economically weaker sections of citizens other than the classes mentioned in clause (4), in addition to the existing reservation and subject to a maximum of ten per cent. of the posts in each category.

Debate Summary

Article 10, Draft Constitution, 1948

(1) There shall be equality of opportunity for all citizens in matters of employment under the State.

(2) No citizen shall, on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, descent, place of birth or any of them, be ineligible for any office under the State.

(3) Nothing in this article shall prevent the State from making any provision for the reservation of appointments or posts in favour of any backward class of citizens who, in the opinion of the State, are not adequately represented in the services under the State.

(4) Nothing in this article shall affect the operation of any law which provides that the incumbent of an office in connection with the affairs of any religious or denominational institution or any member of the governing body thereof shall be a person professing a particular religion or belonging to a particular denomination.

 

Draft Article 10 (Article 16) was debated on 30th November 1948. It provided for equality of opportunity in all government employment. It stated that no citizen can be discriminated on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, descent, place of birth, or residence for governement employment. It also allowed the State to make reservations in public employment for citizens from any backward class.

 

While some members wanted a residence criterion for employment in a state government, others didn’t want any such restrictions. Arguments in favour of the residence criteria claimed that only natives of a particular state could efficiently discharge their duties as officers of the state government. The responses to these arguments invoked the idea of common citizenship in the constitution which would be undermined by the residence criteria.

 

There were three main point of views about having reservations in public employment during the Assembly debate. First was that there must be equality of opportunity for all citizens, i.e. every individual who is qualified for a particular post should freely be able to apply for the post, sit for the examinations and have his qualifications tested. There should be no limitations to this principle.

 

The second view was that the principle of equality should be operative but without any reservations for any class or community. All the citizens that are qualified should be placed on an equal footing for public services.

 

Thee third point of view, which was shared by the Chairman of the Drafting Committee was that equality of opportunity was a great principle in theory, however there must be a provision that allowed the entry of those communities who were far outside of the administration in the past.

 

The Assembly also discussed the use of the term ‘backward class’ in the Draft Article. While some preferred the term due to its generality and ability to encompass a wider range of communities, others argued that the generality of term introduced a sense of vagueness; specific terms like ‘Scheduled Caste’ were better.

 

The Draft Article was adopted with some amendments on 30th November 1948.